How many Cheltenham Festival races are named after horses?
The Cheltenham Festival was extended from three days to four in 2005 and, at that stage, several races – including the Ryanair Chase and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase – were added to the programme to facilitate the extra day. Further races have since been added, increasing the total number to 28, four of which are named after horses.
Inaugurated in 1969, the Arkle Challenge Trophy is named after Arkle, a three-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1964, 1965 and 1966 and the highest-rated steeplechaser in the history of Timeform. Inaugurated in 2011, the Golden Miller Novices’ Chase, a.k.a. the Marsh Novices’ Chase, commemorates another Cheltenham Festival legend, Golden Miller, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup five years running between 1932 and 1936. Similarly, the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, a.k.a. the Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, which was inaugurated in 2016, celebrates Dawn Run, the first and, so far, only horse to win the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The most recent addition to the Cheltenham Festival programme, the Liberthine Mares’ Chase – known, for sponsorship purposes, as the Mrs. Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – was inaugurated in 2021. The eponymous Liberthine was a mare owned by former Chairman of the Cheltenham Racecourse Committee Robert Waley-Cohen, best known for winning the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase at the 2005 Cheltenham Festival.